I perched on my desk once we were in my room, and leaned against the wall. Sam leaned on the wardrobe door, eyes shut. We were both listening, straining to hear anything from the living room. I gave up after a few moments.
"Sam, we shouldn't eavesdrop."
"You're right." She rubbed her fingers in her eyes and groaned. "Today was supposed to be our day wasn't it?"
"Yes. But with everything happening..."
"Yes. I messed it up."
"What are you talking about?" I asked her, confused. She was standing very still, looking down at the floor. I'd never seen her like that before.
"I messed it up. I always mess it up."
"Mess what up?" I hopped off the desk and went over to her, taking her hand from her forehead. As I ducked my head to look at her, to peer through the hair which hung like curtains covering her face, she looked up. There was a tear travelling down her face. It fell in the dip between her nose and face, and continued it's path to her lips. There is hung momentarily, before falling from her face and bursting on her top. "Oh Sam... what's wrong?"
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said what I did to Anna. I was just so angry that she'd gotten you so wound up. And that Leanne was talking to you like that... I forgot you can handle yourself."
"Hey... hey it's ok." She was looking away from me, as if she were distraught that she'd been caught crying. Upset that she'd let herself get upset. "You just got a bit protective. I get it. I know how that feels..."
"It's not just that Cara. I'm not used to going out with people like you. I'm used to women who are insecure, who don't want people to know who they are. I'm used to people who sneak around and keep me as their secret. And I'm used to people who don't stick up for themselves."
"What are you talking about...?"
"Look, I've just had some bad relationships ok? Those mistakes I was talking about earlier. Women who like sex behind closed doors but if you want to hold their hand in public... It's just that, even though being gay is accepted now, so many people are scared of it. Of showing people who they are. And I tend to fall in love with them. But you're not like that, and I think part of me is still so used to that. I thought I needed to be your voice out there but I didn't. And now Anna will hate me and..."
There was a knock on the door. I hesitated. I wanted Sam to continue. I'd not seen this side of her, never seen her like this. She was vunerable. But if that was Anna...
"Go get it silly." Sam sniffed, a small understanding smile tweaking her lips underneath the watery eyes that had softened lovingly.
I took her face in my hands and kissed her gently.
"I'll be back. I want you to tell me everything. Don't go all hard-ass while I'm opening the door ok? I want you to talk to me."
She nodded softly and I went to the door. Anna was stood on the other side. I went in to the corridor and closed the door behind me.
"Hi." I said, feeling awkward with everything that had happened. "How're you feeling?"
"Fine. Look, I want you to know, I understand why you said those things. And although I'm upset with you, and I'm really not happy that Sam said those things, I get it. So I'm going to work on it."
"Oh good. And I am sorry Anna. But I was trying to help. And so was Sam. Honestly. She really likes you. She just... well she was annoyed really. She's been putting up with me panicking and acting like a lunatic... I think she was just at the end of her rope."
"Yeah well, I still don't like that she said it. But I guess I'll be mature and get over it. Just like you want huh?"
For the first time it occurred to me that Anna was less happy than she was letting on.
"What did Leanne say?"
"Leanne is not my girlfriend anymore. I told her to get out. I don't want to talk about it right now; I know you've got Sam round. So just come talk to me when you're free ok?"
"Umm, ok I guess. Sure you're ok?" She looked more mature already in a weird way.
"Yeah. Just, come see me later okay?"
She gave me a brief smile and went back to her room. I watched her go, then returned to Sam.
"Hey." She was sat on my bed, and had slipped off her jeans. "Sorry, I just wanted to be comfortable."
"It's nothing to apologise for. Besides, I've seen it before." I smiled.
"Was Anna ok?" She asked, hooking her knees up to her chest.
"Yeah, I think so. She's mad, but she's ok. But I want to hear about you." I sat next to her and smiled. "Where were we?"
"I was just saying that Anna would hate me."
"Well she doesn't hate you. She's not happy with you, but she doesn't hate you." Sam nodded silently. "Look, we can sort that out later. Tell me about these women, the ones who messed you around."
"No I'm alright now..."
"I told you not to become all hard-ass when I left. Tell me."
"Sam." She looked at me and realised I meant business.
"Ok. I've had bad relationships. There was this one girl, Tanya, when I was eighteen. She was twenty three, and married to someone her parents had chosen. He's filthy rich. And something developed between us, we started having sex... and then when I'd fallen for her, she called it off and went back to him. She never told anyone. And neither did I, till now. There are so many secret relationships I've had... most of them I'm not proud of... some of them with people in relationships already. But I've always thought that if you feel for someone you have to go for it, because life is short and who knows if this person will be the one or not."
I sat and listened for another hour as she explained her relationships, and how she'd always been the proud one, the one who stood up for who she was, what she thought... and that she was so used to having to speak out that she hadn't realised I could cope. This new Sam upset me, and made me proud. So what if she wasn't brave all the time? It made her more human! It upset me that she was upset, but I was also happy. Because she wasn't as perfect as she'd seemed, and that meant that she wasn't as out of my league as all that.
She finally finished, a look of relief and pain washing over her face as she did so.
"Feel better?" I asked.
"I think I do." She sighed, letting go of her legs and stretching them out. "Ooh, how long have I been like this?"
I glanced at the clock.
"About an hour and ten minutes."
"I talked for that long?"
"Yes. And I'm glad you told me. I really am." I leaned over and kissed her gently, then pulled her in to a hug.
"I went on for too long."
"No. I wanted to hear it, and it did you good to get it off your chest. I want you to be able to talk to me like that. I want to be able to talk to you like that."
"You can." She smiled "I want you to."
I kissed her again, on her lips, on her forehead, and on her lips again.
"I love you." I muttered.
"I love you too." She whispered. Then she lay down and stroked my arm with her forefinger. "Thank you."
"For what?" I asked, laying down so she could rest her head on my shoulder. I kissed her forehead and entwined my fingers with hers.
"For loving me."
Sam fell asleep exhausted from all her crying, and I waited with her until I was sure she was deep in her slumber. Then I slipped from under her and made my way to Anna's room.